Danny Garcia, Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman ready to unify welterweight division

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Danny Garcia/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions

 

Now that Danny Garcia has dispatched Samuel Vargas – not that there was any real chance he wouldn’t – his welterweight title-unification bout with Keith “One Time” Thurman can take place March 4 as planned. (A site is still to be determined).

The trash-talk has already started. Thurman was part of the Spike broadcast team for Garcia’s seventh-round stoppage of Vargas this past Saturday at Liacouras Center in Garcia’s native Philadelphia. Afterward, the two spoke inside the ring and had a few choice words for one another.

“I just had to tell Keith that he’s next,” Garcia said. “I’m going to beat him down. There’s not much more to say. Keith is going to get what he asked for and now he’s going to face a big dog.”

Said Thurman: “You have two big punchers meeting on March 4. I don’t see how the fight can go 12 rounds. I see myself as the best competition that Danny has ever faced.”

Garcia, 28, is 33-0 with 19 knockouts. Thurman, 27, is from Clearwater, Fla. He is 27-0 with 22 knockouts.

This should be a terrific fight.

 

 

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Danny Garcia says he’ll show Keith Thurman what he has in store for him

 

Danny Garcia, left, throws a punch at Robert Guerrero during their WBC championship welterweight bout, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Danny Garcia, left, lands a short left hook to the jaw of Robert Guerrero in January at Staples Center. Garcia won a vacant welterweight title with a unanimous decision/AP photo by Mark J. Terrill

 

Welterweight world champion Danny Garcia on Saturday will take on Samuel Vargas (25-2-1, 13 KOs) of Colombia in a non-title fight at Liacouras Center in Garcia’s native Philadelphia (on Spike).

Assuming Garcia wins – and he will – he will next take on Keith “One Time” Thurman in a highly anticipated title-unification bout March 4 at a site still to be determined.

The best thing about Saturday’s bout is that Thurman will be part of the broadcast team. Garcia was asked about that Wednesday.

“He (Thurman) will just get an up close and personal look at what will happen to him in March,” Garcia said. “I hope he’s paying attention.”

Never one to be left out of trash talk, Angel Garcia – Danny’s father and trainer – echoed that sentiment.

“Thurman may be on the outside looking in on Saturday, but he’s going to see what he has in store for him in March,” he said.

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Jessie Vargas believes a victory over Manny Pacquiao will make him a star

Welterweight champion Jessie Vargas works out with trainer Dewey Cooper for his fight Saturday against Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas. (Photo by Gene Blevins)

Jessie Vargas works with trainer Dewey Cooper/Photo by Gene Blevins

 

Jessie Vargas is a welterweight world champion, but he’s not exactly a household name even though he’s from Las Vegas, the fight capital of the world. If he beats Manny Pacquiao on Saturday at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, that will change.

“It would definitely put me on the worldwide stage, make me that boxing star that I have been looking forward to being,” Vargas said. “I have been waiting for this for a long time and I’m glad it’s here and I am going to take advantage of it.

“The only fighters to beat Manny Pacquiao have become legends themselves. So I plan to become one of the few to beat Manny Pacquiao and also become one of the legends.”

Bob Arum, whose Top Rank Inc. is producing the ($59.95) pay-per-view feed for the card, promotes both fighters. He agrees Vargas could alter how he is viewed by the boxing world.

“He becomes not just a champion, but a superstar,” Arum said. “I will deny to him that I said that because I will have to negotiate his next fight (laughing). He would be a superstar, there is no question about that, if he were to beat Manny Pacquiao. He has a hell of a shot to do that.”

Pacqujiao, 37, is 58-6-2 with 38 knockouts. Vargas, 27, is 27-1 with 10 knockouts.

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Taras Shelestyuk says he has learned a lot from ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley

Taras Shelestyuk, left, and Jaime Herrera square off after Thursday’s weigh-in/Photo by Carlos Baeza, Thompson Boxing

 

“Sugar” Shane Mosley may be 45, but the future Hall of Famer showed in May he’s still a decent fighter when he went the distance with David Avanesyan before losing a unanimous decision. It’s therefore not surprising to hear Mosley has been sparring with welterweight contender Taras Shelestyuk ahead of Shelestyuk’s fight Friday night against Jaime Herrera at Omega Products International in Corona (on Showtime).

Mosley likes what he sees from Shelestyuk (14-0, 9 KOs), who recently moved to Los Angeles from his native Ukraine.

“He’s on that championship path, that level,” Mosley said.

Shelestyuk, who won a bronze medal for Ukraine in the 2012 London Games, is soaking up all Mosley has to offer.

“Sparring with Shane Mosley has been huge for me,” Shelestyuk said. “He’s such a great fighter. When I was younger, I’d watch his fights. Now we spar. He’s older but still very good. He knows all the tricks and gives me a lot of advice that helps me in and out of the ring. Everything he’s said to me, I’ve tried to apply.”

Herrera, of Franklin Park, Ill., is 15-3-1 with eight knockouts.

 

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Sylvester Stallone takes in Manny Pacquiao sparring session at Wild Card

Manny Pacquiao poses with Sylvester Stallone on Saturday at Wild Card gym in Hollywood/Photo courtesy of Miguel Salazar

 

Manny Pacquiao received a visit from a rather famous fictional fighter on Saturday at Wild Card gym in Hollywood. It was none other than Sylvester Stallone of “Rocky” fame.

The two posed for pictures after Pacquiao finished sparring in preparation for his challenge to welterweight champion Jessie Vargas on Saturday at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas (on Top Rank pay-per-view).

Pacquaio (58-6-2, 38 KOs) is hopeful he and Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs) can put on a heck of a show.

“My first concern is for the fans; that the people who are going to watch the fight will be happy and satisfied,” Pacquiao said. “I want this to be a fight for fans to remember.”

 

 

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John Molina Jr. of Covina to challenge Terence Crawford for titles on Dec. 10

John Molina Jr.

John Molina Jr./Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions

 

John Molina Jr. of Covina will get his second chance to win a major world title when he challenges Terence Crawford for his two junior welterweight belts Dec. 10 at CenturyLink Center in Crawford’s native Omaha, Neb. (on HBO).

Molina (29-6, 23 KOs), a gradaute of Charter Oak High, challenged Antonio DeMarco of Tijuana for his lightweight title in September 2012, but was stopped in the first round at Oracle Arena in Oakland.

Crawford (29-0, 20 KOs) is coming off a wide decision over Viktor Postol in a title-unification bout in July at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

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Jessie Vargas knows a victory over Manny Pacquiao will change his career

Jessie Vargas/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.

 

Jessie Vargas knows one thing – a victory over Manny Pacquiao on Nov. 5 would change his career and his life. He wants that.

“It would definitely put me on the worldwide stage, make me that boxing star that I have been looking forward to being,” said Vargas, who will defend his welterweight title against Pacquiao at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. “I have been waiting for this for a long time and I’m glad it’s here and I am going to take advantage of it. The only fighters to beat Manny Pacquiao have become legends themselves. So I plan to become one of the few to beat Manny Pacquiao and also become one of the legends.”

Vargas, 27, is 27-1 with 10 knockouts. Pacquiao, 37, is 58-6-2 with 38 knockouts.

The card will be available on Top Rank pay-per-view for $59.95.

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Abner Mares would love to fight winner of the Santa Cruz-Frampton rematch

Abner Mares/Photo courtesy of Dave Mandel, Showtime

 

Abner Mares has always said he likes taking on the best fighters. Even after he lost his featherweight world title when he was knocked out in the first round by Jhonny Gonzalez in August 2013, that credo did not change as in his most recent fight – August 2015 – Mares tangled with featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz won a decision, but Mares distinguished himself well enough.

Mares will be back Dec. 10 when he challenges another featherweight champion – Jesus Cuellar – for his belt at USC’s Galen Center (on Showtime). If Mares manages to emerge victorious, he knows what he’ll then want.

“I want the winner of the (Carl) Frampton vs. Santa Cruz rematch,” Mares said Thursday at a Los Angeles news conference. “I want to continue to fight the best.”

Santa Cruz lost his featherweight championship to Frampton via decision July 30 in Brooklyn. They will fight a rematch Jan. 28 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas (on Showtime).

Mares parted ways with his trainer – Clemente Medina – this past January and hired well-known Robert Garcia, who trains boxers out of his gym in Oxnard.

“I’ve been working with Abner almost this whole year,” Garcia said. “… We’ve been working side-by-side and we’ve had a lot of time to learn about each other.”

Mares has won world titles in three weight classes. But he hasn’t held a title in over three years. Garcia is just the trainer to help Mares get back in the championship saddle.

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Jessie Vargas’ trainer Dewey Cooper says he’s improving his fighter’s power

Jessie Vargas/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.

 

Dewey Cooper isn’t the most well-known trainer in the world. But his passionate way of answering questions could help grow his popularity.

Cooper on Thursday was part of a conference call promoting the Nov. 5 welterweight title fight between champion Jessie Vargas and Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs) at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas (on Top Rank pay-per-view, $59.95). Cooper trains Vargas, who has only 10 knockouts in 28 pro bouts. That’s a low knockout ratio of 36 percent.

But Cooper has been telling reporters that he is improving Vargas’ punching power through various techniques and exercises. He scoffs at the notion that a fighter either has power or he doesn’t, and that one can’t improve upon that power.

By the time Cooper was finished explaining to an inquiring reporter, he had left a lasting impression.

“He feels it,” Cooper said of Vargas’ newfound heavier punch. “He feels it in his knuckles, he feels it in his forearm when he hits, he feels it in his hip when he hits and it’s a natural thing, guys. For anyone in the world to say someone cannot improve on something is just ignorant. We can improve our reading speed, we can improve our running speed, we can improve our strength on a bench press, so why wouldn’t we be able to improve our punching power?

“Everything’s about technique and exercise on the right sports specific move that should make you improve. And that’s all we’ve done. It’s not rocket scientist. We’re just smart enough to know not to limit ourselves and our possibilities. We can do the improbable, we could do the impossible, and that’s exactly what’s going to happen on Nov. 5, guys.”

Vargas (27-1) has had one fight under Cooper. That was March 5 when Vargas stopped Sadam Ali in the ninth round to win the vacant title. Vargas decked Ali twice.

 

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Bob Arum can envision Manny Pacquiao and Vasyl Lomachenko tangling

Manny Pacquiao/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.

 

Manny Pacquiao is a small welterweight. Heck, he wouldn’t even be a big junior welterweight if he were still fighting in that division. It therefore wasn’t shocking to
hear his promoter – Bob Arum – talk about the possibility of Pacquiao at some point taking on super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko.

Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs) on Nov. 5 will challenge Jessie Vargas for his welterweight belt at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas (on Top Rank pay-per-view, $59.95). Three weeks later – on Nov. 26 – Lomachenko will defend his title against tough Nicholas Walters at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas (on HBO).

At the moment, Pacquiao and Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KOs) are fighting at 147 and 130 pounds, respectively. But Lomachenko told yours truly prior to his most recent bout this past June that he could see himself moving up another weight class or two, meaning lightweight (135 pounds) and as high as junior welterweight (140).

“Yeah, 135 to 140,” Arum said. “Manny, he can fight at 135.”

He can still make that weight?

“That’s what he says, sure,” Arum said Wednesday afternoon at Pacquiao’s camp in Hollywood. “I saw him sparring with Ray Beltran yesterday and Beltran’s a lightweight
and Beltran towered over him. He was so much bigger.”

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